HELP! Need to design and build a kiosk for a library.

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Forum topic by Pete Jansen posted 01-19-2013 04:09 PM 3986 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Pete Jansen

250 posts in 3155 days

01-19-2013 04:09 PM

Topic tags/keywords: project help kiosk rmu retail merchandising unit display case

I have a person that wants a kiosk built for a library on a university.
It must have graduated shelving, shelves for mags, books, maybe
some custom jewelry and other items for sale. Problem is you must
be able to view the merchandise during the week through glass or
plexi as nobody will be manning it. If somebody wants an item
during the week, an employee will have to unlock one of the glass
or plastic panels or doors to retrieve the item. On the weekends
the glass or plastic should be able to be removed as they will be
manning the kiosk on the weekends. Maybe some extra storage
drawers in the bottom or cabinet doors. Any plans, ideas, whatever
would be most helpful as I don’t want to pass this job up as I
can really use the money right now.
Thanks in advance for any and all help or ideas.

-- Lovin' sawdust in beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado

5 replies so far

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4256 posts in 3399 days

#1 posted 01-19-2013 04:35 PM

Don’t have much to offer, but remember electrical. Floor space allotted will probably influence the shape. I assume it would sit by or over an outlet.

I guess it is a small shack, possibly on wheels.

Windows on all sides. Shelves that have an outward transparent side and an inside made of opaque material for strength, but with door access from the inside.

I would think you would frame it out so that the surfaces were finished, including a countertop all around Then build modular cases of the same size but with adjustable shelves or display surfaces of various sorts. If it is to be rectangular, that would save a lot of work.

But I would certainly plan it around modular construction in any case with flexible shelving. Thinking ahead, with modular construction, you might be able to parlay the design into other similar commissions.

Sounds like a fun project…........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View a1Jim's profile


117416 posts in 3811 days

#2 posted 01-19-2013 04:50 PM

I hope your customer can afford a kiosk that has all the features you have listed. A unattended Kiosk should not be mobile and be rather hard to move(perhaps anchored down) . The glass on a project like this needs to be tempered and depending on it’s size just the glass could be in the $800-$1200 range. Besides the features you list some of the basic are to make sure the roof is weather tight and secure from easy infiltration. The main issues are security,weather(maybe electrical if it’s to be lighted) and aesthetics . Once you have all of those issues in mind and have come up with a design I would make a small model to show the customer, It’s customary to charge for models if this is not possible an your good with Sketch Up that could work too.
Design wise I picture a square or rectangular shape with stair like shelves going up both ends and adjustable(maybe glass) shelves built on the other two sides with drawers below them. Good luck I hope you get the job.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View MrRon's profile


5260 posts in 3478 days

#3 posted 01-19-2013 04:51 PM

Go to They have exactly everything you need.

View Ted's profile


2875 posts in 2445 days

#4 posted 01-19-2013 05:22 PM

The first thing you have to do is design something. Nobody here can help much if they don’t know what you’re going for. “A kiosk” doesn’t tell us much, nor do the photos since you’re showing us 3 very different designs. Only you can design it.. then others can help you to achieve that design.

I would start with a layout of exactly what will be displayed, arranged out flat on a piece of paper or a graphics tool on my computer. Once you have things arranged nice and organized, then consider how that would “wrap” around the kiosk. That will help you see what you need for shelving.

Consider how much space you have to work with, such as ceiling height and how close to any wall. I wouldn’t want it closer than 6’ to a wall, unless that side of the kiosk was for storage or not display. 4’ is room enough to walk around it, but people have to be able to step back to browse.

Take a look at the location to get some ideas for design elements. It would be nice if you could incorporate some of the library’s design elements into the kiosk design.

Of course there is mobility, on-board storage for extra stock, lighting if electric is available… Then download Google Sketchup ( or similar free software and start designing. Or get a large artist’s pad and draw it out the old fashioned way… that’s my preference.

But bottom line is, you have to design something. Then ask now to achieve that design. Post some photos of where the kiosk will be stationed, that will also help.

Oh, and Jim is right on about the glass. In a public place like that, safety glass will be required (unless you use plexi, of course)

-- You can collect dust or you can make dust. I choose to make it.

View Pete Jansen's profile

Pete Jansen

250 posts in 3155 days

#5 posted 01-19-2013 06:02 PM

You’re right on the money Ted with the elements from the library. I’m going to take some photos of the area that it’s going to be in. Actually, there are going to be 3 identical rolling units in the area. I like the idea of laying out what’s going to be in the case and working from that.
Thanks for the link MrRon, I’ll check it out soon.
A1Jim, the cost of the glass is a huge factor in whether the back side is wood or glass so you can display
on both sides of the unit and not just on one with a background. Plexi just doesn’t hold up like glass and
gets scratched easily. I also like the model idea, I can even make them out of balsa. Weather proof and security is not a factor as long as you can’t just grab something off the shelf as people will be around all the time and they will be centrally located in the library.
Thanks for all the great things to think about, design and build. I’ll post pics of what I come up with as I get going on it. I think they want 3 done by the end of Feb. this year. So I have to get on it. Price glass first Jim for sure.

-- Lovin' sawdust in beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado

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